In a recent and rare interview, Patricia Richardson recalls how immediate and perfect her chemistry was with Tim Allen, convincing her to take on ‘Home Improvement’.
For many Americans, few sitcoms were more beloved than ‘Home Improvement’. The show was brilliantly written, yes, but owes its massive success to the casting of Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson.
Together, the superstar pair starred as husband and wife Tim & Jill Taylor for eight years. ‘Home Improvement’ was an utter smash for ABC from 1991 to 1999 – spanning an entire decade and generations of viewers.
Funnily enough, however, Richardson explains she never even auditioned for Jill – or the show in general. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight about the show, the actress says she was under contract with Disney for another show that didn’t end up happening. ‘Home Improvement, however, was about to begin filming, and without a female lead. Their first choice had just dropped out – a happenstance that would end up creating gold.
Richardson: “Immediately, I loved him”
“They called me in and said, ‘There is this guy, he’s a standup, he won an award, he has a special on Showtime,” she tells of Disney. “I had never heard of [Tim], I had never heard of that show and I had already seen one show that had failed… that had been done with a standup and a family and everything.”
While eager for another project, Richardson says she was beyond reluctant to continue working in “lighter fare”.
“I didn’t want to do any more sitcoms, and I certainly did not want to be a thankless mom,” Richardson says to ET. “I didn’t audition for it. I came in and they said, ‘We want you to start tomorrow.'”
“[The network said] we need to have someone that challenges him and is as much a feminist as he is a masculinist,” she continues. This dynamic, while unusual for any earlier sitcoms, worked so well due to her chemistry with Tim Allen.
“Immediately, I loved him,” she says.
And the rest is history. After ‘Home Improvement’s debut, Richardson found herself falling in love with the characters, too. Along with the rest of America.
“The primary thing I saw the most in the mail was, ‘Are you looking through our windows? The things you and Tim fight about are just like our family,'” Richardson gushes. “Or, ‘I get it, I have three sons too,’ or, ‘This is so freaky, because it’s just like our family!'”
Tim Allen Didn’t Want ‘Home Improvement’ to End
Sadly, nothing last forever. Especially those that are too good to be true. After eight seasons, she was ready to leave the show and move on. After butting heads with Tim Allen over wanting to continue, Richardson declined to renew.
“So then they went to Tim, and they said let’s do it with dead Jill,” she reveals. “And then Tim was like, I don’t think we can do that. So then he went out and said well, I think it’s time to end Home Improvement.”
As a result, the show held its eighth – and last – season in 1999.
Luckily for Allen, he will finally get that ninth season he always wanted when ‘Last Man Standing‘ returns for it’s final season January 3rd, 2021.